Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Time flies when you have a deadline...

Where did the last three-plus weeks go? It's amazing how time flies when you're trying to be creative (and productive) under a deadline...  although sometimes, it both flies and drags. The creative process never ceases to amaze me. This is especially true when I'm under one of those deadlines and feel like I'm not completely satisfied with the expression of an idea (or not happy with the progress of a project), and then something clicks–it just comes together. When the process drags, it's usually because I've forgotten that trying too hard to be creative can get in the way of letting the process follow its natural course. Deadlines can make this a real challenge. I definitely got caught up in that for a while this time and didn't do a good job of telling myself to "relax and let it happen." You'd think I'd know better.

But you might ask, "how can you relax when you have a deadline?" This surely seems a contradiction. I think it goes back to the old saying, "slow and steady wins the race." I can't really explain how or why it happens, but I know from experience that it does. If I keep heading toward my goal with an open mind, a project always seems to come together. Sometimes it's sort of an "ah-ha" moment, other times, it falls into place more gradually. And it isn't always exactly what I envisioned, as a matter of fact, it's usually better. But the trick is, I can't slack off and just wait for this to happen–I have to keep moving forward.

Now, this is not foolproof... there are plenty of times when I'm under a deadline that it still gets all "crunchy" toward the end. But in hindsight, those are the times that I tried to control the process too much. Sometimes that "ah-ha" moment comes when I've exhausted myself trying to make something work (the way I think it should) and I'm done in... so I back off, and voilà! When a project drags, I need to remind myself that I don't have to get to that point of exhaustion (or frustration) before the process will flow. Creativity happens, but you have to remember to give it the opportunity. Relax, work with confidence, and trust that it will come together.

It's so easy to get caught up in deadlines and forget to follow our instincts, (or listen to our own advice). I really need to find a good way to remind myself to trust the creative process when I'm in the midst of it all. Maybe I need a sign in my studio that reads "it'll happen–just get out of the way!"

To learn more about trusting the process, read my February post about an excellent book on this subject.  

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